Recovery of Compound Interest as Restitution or Damages

Date01 March 2008
Published date01 March 2008
resistance being unnecessary and the quality and nature of communication
between complainant and defendant would have been useful.
Such guidance might be of particular assistance to those jurors who are con-
fused aboutthe meaning of ‘capacity’in the 2003 Act and fall back on stereotypes
or moral judgments to help guide their decisions. However, on the basis of the
current literature, one has to wonder whether additional guidance will make
any great di¡erence to those jurors who think intoxicated women are ‘totally’
responsible when they are raped, although fortunately, such people appear to be
small in number.
Consequently, it would appear that clarity in the guidance
given to jurors, who wish to reach a verdict on the basis of the evidence before
them, will continue to be essential in cases involving intoxication.
Recovery of Compound Interest
as Restitution or Damages
Charles Mitchell
A critical analysis of Sempra Metals Ltd vIRC, where the House of Lords held that
common law claims will l ie to recover compound interest, either as restitution of
the time value of money,or as damages for the loss of this time value.
Sempra Metals Ltd vIRC
(Sempra) holds that a claim in unjust enrichment can lie
at common law to recover the time value of money, and that the measure of the
restitutionary award can equate to an award of compound interest when that is
the value of the bene¢t transferred. In reaching this conclusion, the House of
Lords declined to follow contrary dicta in Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale v
Islington LBC (Westdeutsche).
The case also holds that compound interest can be
recovered as general damages for wrongdoing, including breach of a contractual
obligation to pay a debt.This ¢ nding required a departure from some other well
knowncases ^ most notablyLondon,Chatham andDoverRailway CovSouth E astern
(London,Chatham)andPresidentofIndiavLa Pintada CiaNavigacion SA
(La Pintada).The case is therefore a major turning-point both for the law of resti-
tution for unjust enrichment and for the law of compensatory damages
for wrongs. The court’s ¢ndings will have a signi¢cant impact on commercial
75 n 39 aboveand accompanying text.
Professor of Law, King’s College London.
2 [1996] AC669.
3 [1893] AC429.
Compound Interest as Restitution or Damages
290 r2008 The Authors.Journal Compilation r2008 The Modern Law Review Limited.
(2008) 71(2) 271^302

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